LZW31-SN non-neutral weird issues

Hi All-

New to the smart home world, but learning a lot! I tried searching a ton and couldnt find a similar situation, so if I am just bad at searching, links are appreciated!

I bought 4 of the red series dimmers for use in my house that does not have neutral wires (knob and tube setup on most of the switches). I got aeotec bypass’s just to be on the safe side to make sure things would work. I wired one up in parallel at my light fixture, per the best instructions I could find (its pretty simple, assuming it is hard to mess up).

Now the weirdness; with that setup, i cannot get the switch to work. And when I say not work, I mean that no matter how many times I press the config button or how long I hold it down, I cannot get the RGB light strip to change colors. Period. I tried connecting it to my smartthings hub, as well as changing the AC type to non-neutral. Nothing is working. I pulled out a second switch (since I bought 4) and it is acting similar, so I assume it is something with my setup. The light the switch is hooked up to always stays on, no matter what I try to do. The only way to shut it off is with the physically pop-out on the switch. The light is also flickering a bit, kind of like a fluorescent light that is about to go out ,whereas before I never noticed it flickering with the “dumb” switch.

The light switch is completely unresponsive unless I use the pop out button. Once I re-engage it, same thing. The light switch is non-responsive and doesnt seem to affect the light fixture no matter what. My smartthings hub sees the switch and was able to set it up, but it always says offline.

Has anyone seen this before? Any ideas on what it could be that I seem to have done wrong? Any troubleshooting tips would be greatly appreciated! I emailed inovelli support and they really werent much help.

So I’m guessing this is a 2-way i.e. just the light(s) and the switch.

Presumably you have one conductor connected to the Line terminal and the other to the Load terminal. How did you determine which is which?

It sounds like the dimmer is not being powered properly. What is your load?

Yes, correct, basic 2-way setup.

Yeah, i double checked which line was which with a line load tester. I checked 3 times to make sure I hooked up the line and load to the correct terminals. Maybe I should check again if these symptoms sound like it is hooked up backwards.

The load is a ceiling light fixture with two 14w fluorescent light bulbs.

I am guessing that the dimmer may not be compatible with your fluorescent ballast.

To test your wiring, you could temporarily substitute an incandescent bulb in place of the fluorescent. Use a pigtail light socket with an incandescent bulb. This will at least let you know if your wiring is correct.

EDIT: By “fluorescent light bulbs” do you mean the long tube bulbs or are you referring to CFLs?

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Sorry, they are CFL bulbs in my ballast. I dont have any incandescent bulbs, so ill run to the store to pick some up. Do I need to fully disconnect my current ballast to try? If I am understanding correctly, you are saying to basically connect only an incandescent bulb with some spare wire to see if my problem goes away? I think that seems simple enough for me to try.

Correct. Try it with an incandescent bulb only. The idea is to take the fixture out of the equation.

I don’t understand what type of fixture you have. A fluorescent fixture that takes tubes has a ballast, which I’m thinking may not be compatible. CFL bulbs are just screw in bulbs with an E26 base. They will be compatible.

In any event, a pigtail receptacled socket with incandescent only will tell you if you are wired correctly or not.

made a quick trip to the hardware store and got everything to try it and…poof it worked! I agree its weird, but a quick google search showed that the CFL bulbs have integrated ballasts…so maybe that was it? Regardless, thank you so much! There is almost no chance I wouldve thought the light fixture was the problem.

Now that I know I need to replace a handful of light fixtures…anything else to look out for? Are LED bulbs potentially going to cause the same problem, or is it more of a fluorescent bulb ballast thing? Or am I just in the trial and error stage now?

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Glad you figured it out. IMO, LED bulbs are still a bit of the wild west. Some are compatible, so are not.

Inovelli has a user-contributed compatibility list. They’re also working on an app. Take a look at the following and try to get bulbs that users have reported as compatible. If you get a fixture that accepts standard E26 based bulbs, you can try different bulbs to see what works. You’ll probably still need the bypass as well.

I was in the same boat as yourself. I have used Cree, Philips, and EcoSmart bulbs without a problem once a Aeotec bypass was installed. Let me know what you find out! I would go with EcoSmart because they’re just so much cheaper haha.

I ordered a batch of GE led bulbs that were listed as compatible on the page linked above. I’ll make sure to follow up if they work as described!

Last update. Got a set of 8x GE Relax LED bulbs. Had to use the 42/87 min/max settings to make it work, otherwise the switch wouldnt function right.

Thanks again for the help guys! Excited to get the rest of them setup now!